It was, as forecast, a very hot and humid day so I took it easy. My average speed for the day was less than 12 mph, so the 92 mils represents about 7.75 hrs of riding. Actually I was going to ride 110 miles, which would have taken roughly another hour, but I got seduced by luxury.
My ride today, although very hot, was really quite enjoyable. Route 11 through this part of VA is simply great (with a few exception, e.g the 'strip' section of Staunton) riding. It is good road in beautiful surroundings with light traffic. Even the haze, which was a bit lighter today, and the 100 degree effective temp, couldn't spoil my enjoyment of it.
When I left my motel this morning at 8:15, it was already hot and humid. Since 11 climbs to about 1000 feet higher in the next 20 or 30 miles, it was also hilly riding. The wind was a five to ten mph headwind during the morning as I rode up hill in very hot and humid condition. 4 Hs: Hot, Humid, Hilly, and Headwinds. Not good. However if I took it easy the riding was OK. The headwind slowed me down, but it also helped cool me off. The hills were there and it was mostly uphill, but a gentle uphill that rarely required more than the 7.5 mph low on my middle ring. Traffic was light (Sunday morning) and polite. I figured as long as I didn't get run down by someone late for church I'd be OK. I was.
Breakfast (none at the motel) was a problem. I rode for several miles before seeing a gas station/ food store. I'd stopped at this store on a previous trip so, being a sucker for nostalgia, I stopped again. I had two junk food pastries and cup of coffee. Then, a few miles later, I came across a restaurant obviously doing a booming breakfast business. I wasn't hungry so I didn't stop. I probably should have. It was a long way to the next restaurant that was open for breakfast and, in the mean time, I stopped at a grocery store and did my own breakfast - two kinds of yogurt and some pretzel rods washed down with sports drink. I put part of the sports drink in my bottles and took most of the pretzel with me for later eating. Wouldn't you know the next open restaurant was literally 100 yards down the road from the grocery. I wasn't hungry.
I stopped for an early lunch in Mt Jackson and a late lunch in Harrisonburg, both at Wendys and both places I had stopped on earlier tours. I also stopped (again) at a service station in Verona, just before the start of Staunton, for a 44 oz. coke. I was consuming 50 ounces of water and a quart or more of soft drink roughly every 20 miles. It was hot.
After Harrisonburg route 11 actually goes down for a while and then stays fairly level before climbing again into and beyond Staunton. I started the day at about 500 feet and am currently over 1500 feet. While this climbing takes energy and is hard do in this heat, the temperature goes down as you go up (10 F per 1000 feet?). That means that this afternoons ride felt cooler than this mornings ride.
There were longer sustained climbs this afternoon, and some of them made me feel so hot that I worried about my clothing catching fire. Well, not quite that hot, but very hot indeed. Fortunately none of those climbs lasted more than 10 or 15 minutes and the air was dry (not very dry!) enough to evaporate some of my sweat on the following downhills. I rode down hill standing up in order to maximize the cooling (and dry out the pad in my shorts). I rode uphill at the easiest pace I could manage to avoid overheating. I did not go anaerobic, which I normally will on short hills and I was very conscious of the danger of overheating. This made for a slow paced, but still enjoyable ride, on this hot day. 11 is just very nice riding in this section.
I stopped for the last time at the junction of 11 and 340, another place I've stopped before, coming down 340 as well as coming down 11. I drank some sports drink (only on very hot days) and visited with a motorcyclist who was stuck there with a dead battery. I left around 5:45 heading for Lexington which is 24 miles down 11. That was going to make for a very long day, but I was enjoying the ride. As I rode through (there isn't much here) Steeles Tavern, I passed the Steeles Tavern Manor B+B.
I had passed by it the last two summers on earlier tours and rejected it as too rich for my budget. Today I came back and inquired about the rates. I got a very special rate of $70 (normal rate is $105 for the room I'm in, their cheapest) because the owner sensed correctly that I wasn't going to much higher. This is a great deal for $70.
I've been fussed over, fed good wine, great cookies, great pie, and great fresh fruit. I have an elegant room with a private bath, beautiful furniture, a fireplace, etc. The hostess is (based on her pie and cookies) a superb cook and I'm sure breakfast will be very nice. I am impressed and I think this $74 (with tax) well spent. It is certainly the most elegant place I've spent the night in a long time. I'm also happy not to have ridden more than nine hours today. I'm in a good location relative to the distance to my home. I think I can do it comfortably in another three days and the forecast is for three good riding days.